* … OIL INDUSTRY: After years of soaring energy prices and new drilling, the oil and gas industry has found itself in an unfamiliar position: the price of oil has dropped to a five-year low and environmentalists continue their attacks on hydraulic fracturing. We will talk about these issues when Chad Hathaway comes into the First Look studios to discuss the challenges facing the energy sector. Hathaway is a fourth generation oil producer who founded a company bearing his name in 2001. He also has been active in the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, an organization that has quickly evolved into an influential player on public policy. He will appear on the show at 9 a.m. Tuesday, broadcast live on KERN NewsTalk 1180 and videostreamed live on bakersfield.com.
* … SPOTTED: Bakersfield has a long and storied history of producing great athletes in virtually every sport, and I spotted a few of them the other night while dining at Bill Lee's downtown. While chatting with local caterer Mike Ariey (former offensive tackle with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants) he pointed out Rodney Leisle in the bar. Leisle graduated from Ridgeview High School and UCLA before spending five years with the New Orleans Saints. And yes, he was sporting a rock of a Super Bowl ring bearing the Saints emblem. Leisle is now an energy consultant with Vivint Solar.
* … THEFTS: Here is a cautionary tale: A homeowner downtown woke to find her car burglarized. Apparently the thieves used her garage door opener in the car to open her garage and make off with bicycles and other items.
* … SCAM: Yet another telephone scam, this one compliments of Patricia Kelley: "They just keep coming. This morning I received a call, 'Congrats your application for a PayPal loan has been reevaluated and you have been approved for a $1,300 loan. Call this number (631) 406-4695, Smithtown N.Y. within 24 hours for your acceptance and funds will be transferred to your bank account.' Watch out people, you are instructed to push #1 for a live operator, which I did not do. If you call the number, which I verified on my phone, it is disconnected. Nothing is free! I am now going to check my credit reports to see if there is any mischief there.
* … MEMORIES: Some random memories from reader Ronal Reynier: "I graduated from East Bakersfield High School in 1954 and at that time an arts teacher by the name of Lois Smith could tell you the history of each painting in the school library. They said in the 'Kern's Past' article that the paintings in 2004 were worth $250,000. A William Wendt painting now would be worth almost that much. My question is were are they now? Some years ago a lady bequeathed her art collection to the County of Kern that had an estimated value at the time of one $1 million to $5 million dollars.
They were housed in the vault of the late Great Western Savings and Loan while the county checked if it was legal for them to except the collection. I have the same question, where are they now? Will these enter into the other great mysteries of the county as to where and what happened to the lion statues of the old jail building; and the neon 'Weather-Bird' sign above the Sill Building? At the time it was the largest neon sign west of the Rockies." Royal: I believe the lion statues were moved to a fraternity house at the University of Nevada at Reno.